Could Parker Be A Raptor?

Posted on June 21, 2011 | 1 Comment

So as we get closer to the draft, more and more rumours start floating around. We’ve seen Bogut being offered for the 2nd pick, and then Milwaukee denying it. We’ve seen Minnesota offer the Lakers the 2nd pick for Andrew Bynum. Then we say Indiana apparently offer Roy Hibbert and their 15th pick for the 2nd pick. If all these team are going after Derrick Williams, he better be a future All-Star.

The latest rumour, however, involves the Raptors, at least partly. San Antonio has apparently been offering lottery teams, including the Toronto Raptors, Tony Parker in exchange for their pick.

On the surface, this seems like it could be a good deal for the Raptors. Parker is a former All-Star and Finals MVP who is only 29. He’s probably still got 4 or 5 years left of really high quality basketball, and most likely higher quality than what any of the potential draft picks would bring.

Then you think about it a little.

First of all, Tony Parker is 29 years old, but it’s an old 29. He’s played 746 regular season games and 138 playoff games. That’s 884 games, not including preseason and playing for France, which he’s done a fair bit of.  That’s more games than anyone else in his draft class. A class which includes Pau Gasol, Shane Battier, Joe Johnson, Jason Richardson and Samuel Dalembert. So while he’s one of the younger players from his draft class, he’s also got one of the older bodies. And that could be a problem with the type of game he plays. He relies on quickness and at 6’1 and probably under 200 lbs, his body takes a lot of beating since the majority of his shots come in the paint. In a season and a half, he’ll have played more than 1000 games taking the kind of punishment he has.

And while one can point to Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and John Stockton as point guards who have played at a high level until their late 30′s, I can name you hundreds of other point guards who started breaking down before they even hit 30. And most of them hadn’t played nearly the number of games that Parker has.

Another issue is that while Parker would have an immediate impact on the team, it wouldn’t be best for the team, longterm. I understand the argument that a veteran presence would have a positive impact on the team. The problem with this argument, however, is that the Raptors are not nearly at the point in their development where a guy like Parker would really help them. The biggest problem is that Parker would immediately become the best player on the team. And while that may sound great, a team where Tony Parker is the only All-Star calibre player on the team is going to be a pretty mediocre team. Which means the ceiling of this team would be probably a first round exit. And just when guys like DeMar DeRozan and Ed Davis start to come into their own is when Parker would start declining. In other words, you lose his talent just when you need it the most.

So while Parker still in HIS prime, the team might eventually become a .500 team, fighting for the 7th or 8th seed. And that’s probably best case scenario. And then when he starts to decline, DeRozan and Davis start to peak. And while they have the potential to be good players, they’ll never be elite players, so that team’s best case scenario is probably a 7th or 8th seed and team winning in the low 40′s. In other words, a trade for Parker would pretty much doom the team to mediocrity. And for a franchise that has seen too much mediocrity, that’s the last thing they need.

Last, and certainly not least, if the Spurs are willing to trade Tony Parker for a lottery pick, you have to figure that whoever they want is going to be a damn good player, since this is the Spurs we’re talking about. So instead of trading for Parker, I’d just try and figure out who they want to draft and take him. I’m betting he becomes the best player of this draft.

To me, that’s the smart thing to do.

Check out my draft preview.

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  • Brain Colangelo

    Also, Kemba Walker could turn into a Tony Parker type of guard. There are lots of similarities…

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